News

From the Wall Street Journal:

Buried in the details of President Barack Obama's budget release Monday will be more than $770 million that nuclear-power companies pay each year for a waste-storage site that's years behind schedule.

But this might be the last year the White House can count on that income.

Nuclear-power companies are pressing to suspend the hefty fees they pay into the national nuclear-waste fund. Created by Congress in 1982, this fund was designed to finance the government's storage of radioactive waste. And, until recently, it was to pay for a new waste dump at Yucca Mountain, Nev.

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From Green Mountain Daily:

Sens. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and David Vitter, R-La., say applications for the Pilgrim nuclear station in Plymouth, Mass., and the Vermont Yankee plant in Vernon, whose owner, Entergy Corp., applied for 20-year license extensions for the two on the same day, Jan. 27, 2006, are taking too long.

...and...

Vitter, who represents Louisiana, Entergy's home state, has received $20,000 in campaign contributions from the company since the 2002 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan Washington-based group that tracks money in politics.

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The Susquehanna River Basin Commission quarterly meeting will take place at Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa.,Neff Lecture Hall – William J. von Liebig Center for Science. Read More

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The open session for the first meeting of the Cancer Risk Assessment will be held February 24th, from 1:00pm to 5:30pm. This session will also be webcast, and a link will be made available at nationalacademies.org/cancreriskstudy the day of the meeting. Please direct any inquiries to the project email at crs@nas.edu.

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From the Times Union:

The private company behind the troubled radioactive cleanup at Knolls Atomic Power Labs has hired another firm to take over the stalled project, the Department of Energy said.

In addition, the cost of the project, originally set at $75 million, is now expected to top out at $145 million because of a slower, more conservative approach designed to avoid further escapes of radioactivity, the department admitted Tuesday. There were three incidents last fall.

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Peach Bottom: Forthcoming Meeting with Exelon Nuclear Regarding Proposed Elimination of Containment Accident Pressure Credit for Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3

Download ML110350627 (PDF)

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HARRISBURG HOPE
Community Starts Here

TOMORROW: Harrisburg Hope Community Forum I
 
Harrisburg – Harrisburg Hope, a grassroots political organization that seeks to empower all voices within our community, will tomorrow be hosting the first in a series of community forums to talk about Harrisburg's future. All Harrisburg area residents are invited to join Harrisburg Hope on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Kline Library for the first community forum. Harrisburg Hope Community Forum I: Priorities, will feature a discussion of Harrisburg's priorities. Free and open to the public. More information on Harrisburg Hope available at www.harrisburghope.com.

Harrisburg Hope Community Forum I: Priorities
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 / 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Kline Library, 530 S. 29th Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104

Harrisburg Hope Community Forum II: Dealing with Debt, Creating Jobs
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 / 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Midtown Scholar Bookstore, 1302 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102

RSVP (or just show up):
Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, Harrisburg Hope; 717-433-5488

Thanks for your support!

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From the Wall Street Journal:

Concerns over the 650-megawatt Vermont Yankee plant and its operator have heightened over the past year after groundwater tests showed increased levels of tritium, which regulators say can increase the risk of cancer. Entergy has been accused of misleading the public by stating in prior years that no radioactive material was transported through underground pipes, where leaks were eventually found.

Last November, Entergy said it was considering selling the plant located near the state's southern border amid state resistance--led by Shumlin, who at the time was president of the Vermont Senate--to extending the aging reactor's operations for 20 years. The operating license expires in 2012. The announcement came days before the company reported another leak caused by a crack in a pipe that was part of a system feeding water into the reactor, causing the power plant to go offline for a few days.

"I am deeply concerned with Vermont Yankee's lack of transparency about serious problems that continue to be discovered around the plant," Shumlin said in a statement. He expressed concern over a weeks-long delay in testing samples, which showed new tritium hits.

Vermont Yankee spokesman Larry Smith said the plant is "working quickly to determine the source of the newly detected tritium," but noted the cases pose no threat to public health or safety. No traces have been found in drinking water, and the cause is being investigated.

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Radiating Posters: A collection of posters from the global anti-nuclear power movement is available for pre-order.

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MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin, citing the on-going discovery of tritium leaks at the plant, instructed the Vermont Department of Public Service to appoint a Vermont Yankee Reliability Oversight Committee.

“I've asked the Department of Public Service to organize a Reliability Oversight Committee to provide, in these coming critical months, additional expertise on oversight of Vermont Yankee issues within the state's jurisdiction,” Gov. Shumlin said. “I am deeply concerned with Vermont Yankee’s lack of transparency about serious problems that continue to be discovered around the plant.”
 
Shumlin continued, “I learned two weeks ago about another well with a tritium hit, and this one is not near the plume we already knew about, but 150 feet away. Then, last Friday, I was told that yet another well had a tritium hit. Vermont Yankee had the samples pulled that showed the new tritium hits, but didn't test those samples for a few weeks because a piece of equipment was broken.”
 
Gov. Shumlin noted that no investigation occurred during those weeks, while tritium levels rose. Plant officials participated in hearings at the Public Service Board about the leaks the Shumlin administration learned about in January of last year, while the samples showing new tritium hits were sitting untested, unknown to anyone at the state, the Governor said.
 
In addition, the Governor has asked Yankee officials to disclose an investigation plan to ensure they are taking adequate steps to deal with the escalating situation.
 
In a related announcement, the Governor has appointed Montpelier attorney Richard Saudek and Vermont Law School professor Peter Bradford to the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission.

Saudek, who is a partner in the law firm of Cheney, Brock & Saudek, P.C., has advised legislative committees on issues involving Vermont Yankee and its owner, Entergy Corp. Saudek has also served as Chair of the Vermont Department of Public Service, and as Vermont’s first Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service.

Bradford is an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School, where he teaches ‘Nuclear Power and Public Policy.’ He also teaches utility regulation, restructuring, nuclear power and energy policy. Bradford served on the Public Oversight Panel for the Comprehensive Vertical Assessment of Vermont Yankee, and has served as an expert witness on investment in new nuclear power.

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